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Balancing Robot from Recycled Materials 


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Balancing Robot from Recycled 


Written By: Scott Bedford 


1 Compass (1) 

Craft knifed) 
or scalpel 

Hacksaw (1) 

Hot glue gun (1) 

Marker (1) 

Pliers (1) 

Scissors (1) 

Wire cutters (1) 


Toilet paper tube (2) 



or wire hanger 

AA Battery (1) 

Plastic lidd) 

/ used the lid from a can of Gillette 
Shaving Gel here. Your lid should fit 
neatly over the end the toilet paper tube. 

Roll-on deodorant bottle (1) 

It should fit neatly inside the toilet paper 


Spray paint (1) 


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Page 1 of 7 

Balancing Robot from Recycled Materials 

Amaze your kids by transforming two old toilet rolls and a few other recycled bits and bobs 
into a cool steampunk-inspired robot. Amaze them even further by balancing your robot on 
the edge of a ruler, table, shelf, or even your finger. And then triple amaze them by rotating 
the arms and revealing the steel heart in the body of the robot. 

This is a fun summer project that's also an excellent way for your kids to improve their 
understanding of gravity and mechanics. It's also a very flexible project - while I gave my 
robot all the bells and whistles (literally, there's a whistle on its head), you can easily 
customize your robot to suit the materials you have available. 

Step 1 — Balancing Robot from Recycled Materials 

• Step 1 : Take a toilet roll tube and 
use a compass to draw a circle on 
one side. Make this circle slightly 
smaller than the diameter of the 
tube. Now draw another circle on 
the opposite side (it can be a bit 
tricky trying to judge the correct 
position; just try and be as 
accurate as you can). Finally, draw 
a small rectangle between the two 
circles. This will become the hole 
that reveals the robot's steel heart. 
Once you've done that, take a craft 
knife or scalpel and carefully cut 
out the two circles and the small 
rectangle. You have now just 
completed the most tricky step. 

© Make Projects 

Page 2 of 7 

Balancing Robot from Recycled Materials 

Step 2 

• Step 2: Take the second toilet roll 
and cut along the length of one side 
(use a pencil and ruler to ensure it 
is straight). Squeeze the tube 
slightly, so the edges overlap, and 
then slide it through the holes of 
the first tube. Use a pencil to mark 
where the edges overlap. Pull the 
tube back out, and then cut off the 
overlap using a ruler and craft 
knife. Rejoin the two edges by 
gluing a strip of card stock over the 
join along the inside of the tube. 
Now, shorten the length of this 
tube. It needs to be about 1 " 
(25mm) longer than the width of the 
first tube. 

© Make Projects 

Page 3 of 7 

Balancing Robot from Recycled Materials 

Step 3 

• Step 3: To make the steel heart for 
your robot, cut a strip of paper 
twice as long as the rectangular 
hole in the vertical tube, and a bit 
wider. Take a black permanent 
marker and draw the outline of a 
heart (and some pipes) onto the 
paper, as shown here. Then color 
in with a silver metallic pen. 
Alternatively, you can spray the 
paper silver first and then use the 
black permanent marker to create 
the outlines. I'd also suggest 
making the spaces around the 
pipes and heart black. Once you've 
finished, glue the paper onto the 
centre of the horizontal tube and 
insert it back into the robot's body. 

© Make Projects 

Page 4 of 7 

Balancing Robot from Recycled Materials 

Step 4 

• Step 4: Now spray some light- 
medium cardstock with metallic 
bronze spray paint. Cut three thin 
strips and glue them around the 
ends of the horizontal tube and the 
base of the vertical tube. To create 
the brain, cut a strip of silver 
cardstock (a bit wider than the 
vertical tube) and fold the ends 
over to create small tabs. Now cut 
different sized cogs from the silver 
and bronze cards and glue them 
onto this strip. Lastly, apply glue to 
the tabs and secure the brain into 
the top of the vertical tube. To 
create the robot's jaw, cut two 
rectangular pieces of cardstock 
and glue them together. 

© Make Projects 

Page 5 of 7 

Balancing Robot from Recycled Materials 

Step 5 

• Step 5: Push the lid (with the eyes 
facing forward) on top of the 
vertical tube. Use some hot glue to 
attach the lid to the back to the 
robot. To make the counterbalance, 
take some thick wire (I used 
1.5mm galvanised wire bought from 
a hardware store, but an old wire 
coat hanger would work as well) 
and cut a piece around 18" 
(450mm) long using pliers or wire 
cutters. Curve it into a semi-circle 
and bend the ends at right angles 
using pliers. Make a hole at the 
back of the robot and feed the wire 
through. Use hot glue to attach the 
bent end to the opposite side of the 

• Hot-glue an AA battery to the 
bottom end of the wire to act as a 

© Make Projects 

Page 6 of 7 

Balancing Robot from Recycled Materials 

Step 6 

• Step 6: Now for the finishing 
touches. Take the black marker 
pen and add further outlines to your 
robot - you can follow the 
photographs above. I added rivets, 
pipes, pressure valves, and simple 
outlines to give it the full 
steampunk look. Oh... I almost 
forgot - 1 also created a steam 
whistle from a piece of the bronze 
cardstock and glued it onto the side 
of the robot's head. 

• Step 7: The last step is to adjust 
the wire so that the robot stands 
upright. This can be quite fiddly; 
the best way is to balance the robot 
on the edge of a table and gently 
bend the wire until your robot 
stands tall and straight. 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-02 04:16:48 AM. 

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